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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673
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Response to “This is Vermont 2011, not Dodge City 1870”

In last week’s paper, Mr. Rayfield “respectfully disagreed” with Lt. Paul White’s quoted statement that “you can’t ask them (constables) to be on duty and not be armed.” His attitude is actually quite disrespectful and represents just another thoughtless kneejerk reaction to guns in general.

If he (the author of last week’s article, “This is Vermont 2011, not Dodge City 1870”) feels he can use his “brains, education, legal, persuasive and other resources to prevent crime” I urge him to step up!

Mr. Rayfield also expressed the notion that “if our constables are unarmed, we will attract the right people to the job.” The present constables are educated businessmen who served in the military and continue to serve the community as volunteers on the fire department, ambulance and rescue squads.  If that doesn’t fit the description of the right people for the job with the right respect for life, please tell me what does.

Because someone recognizes the danger inherent in the profession and chooses to protect his or her life by being armed, people tend to make the usual stereotypical assumptions. There are people who choose to become peace officers for the right reasons. In fact, I believe that is true of the vast majority. Please give our law enforcement officers a little credit. They are trained to de-escalate volatile situations and use the appropriate amount of force, using a weapon only to prevent loss of life.

“In contrast to firearms,” Mr. Rayfield mentions driver education, alarm systems, tasers and radar. As important as it is, driver education will not deter a criminal from a home invasion. Expensive alarm systems are meaningless if criminals know the troopers are 30 minutes away. Yes, tasers are very effective if the perpetrator is unarmed and within a 20-foot range. The presence of radar devices are protective to the public only because they may cause a thief to drive safely as he leaves with your belongings.

I urge one of the “right” people out there, who is willing to go through the training, who doesn’t mind being subject to public scrutiny or getting up in the middle of the night, to run for the office of constable. It would make the lives of the present constables’ families a lot easier.

Yes, this is Vermont 2011, but if we don’t “speak softly and carry a big stick,” we could become more like the Dodge City of 1870 that Mr. Rayfield fears.

 

Nancy L. Bifano lives in Warren.

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